Thursday, February 08, 2007


Everybody cryin' "civility" when they don't know the meaning of the word

The liberal internets are alive with mockery today at the expense of Jonah Goldberg.

On this day two years ago, he offered a bet to Juan Cole that "Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it." He magnanimously declared that he would donate his winnings to the USO, and allowed Cole to "give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is."

Because only terrorism-lovers thought we'd encounter anything bad there. The only reason to have expertise in the Middle East, after all, is in order to hate America.

Anyway, the bet (which Cole refused) would have gone poorly for Goldberg. And he's learned his lesson. "[W]hen I see the nasty stuff now, on both the left and the right, my first reaction is to think how easy — and therefore uninteresting — it is," he writes. Cheap insults "bore me more than they offend me because they are precisely the sort of thing you'd expect to hear from a living cliche who can't imagine the other side might be worth listening too."

A few hours later, in a post helpfully titled "Loving Failure," he reprints an email from a conservative well-wisher, who writes of "the perverse satisfaction that lefties continue to take from what is basically the current failure to bring liberty and democracy to one of the most troubled regions of the world." The writer pegs "political strategy of the left these days [as] 'America has to lose in Iraq.' Whether it's the cynical response of people trying to embarrass the current President (and who would be fully behind the war if a Democrat were running it) or the depressing self-righteousness of those who think their own country must be humbled... the result is the same: a political movement dominated by people who want to see not only Bush fail, but to see America fail, to see the ideals of liberty and democracy fail."

Sigh. Where to even begin.

The Iraq invasion's archetects certainly, in some abstract sense, hoped that liberty and democracy would sprout in Iraq. But they didn't plan or work to make that happen-- they just hoped. Good intentions and a nickel will get you a small amount of paving material.

War opponents did not cause Iraq to go poorly. They just told us that the Iraq war would result in lots of people getting hurt to no particular end. People told war supporters (of which I was one) that we were wrong; some war supporters (like Goldberg) said or hinted or joked that their assessment of reality was rooted in admiration for terrorists like Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades because of it.

Now, it turns out Goldberg and I were wrong, and Juan Cole was right.

And this guy says that the problem is that war opponents weren't cheering loudly enough. And Jonah throws the red meat to the lummoxes.

As for "embarassing the president," if accountability results in embarassment and a productive change of course, that's Good for America.

By this nationalistic "logic," Winston Churchill was rooting for the Nazis to start World War II. After all, he predicted it beforehand, and counseled against England's stated policies. What a democracy-hater that guy was.

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